The Honourable Senator Dr. Thelma J. Chalifoux
(February 8, 1929-September 22, 2017) was appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien on November 26, 1997. She became the first female indigenous person appointed to the Senate of Canada and served until February 8, 2004, when she retired and returned to Alberta. A history maker and trailblazer, prior to her appointment she worked as a teacher and community organizer and was very active in both local and national Métis communities. Upon her retirement from the Senate, she founded the Michif Cultural and Resource Institute (now the Michif Cultural Connections) in St. Albert, Alberta, an organization devoted to preserve, protect and promote the rich Métis culture in northern Alberta. As the Matriarch of a large extended family of more than seventy children–semicolon– grandchildren, great grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren, she was a great example of grace under pressure and courage to keep going no matter what challenges one faced. She uplifted spirits – changed hearts and minds for the better and left this world a far better place than when she found it.
The family would like to acknowledge and offer sincere gratitude to all the caregivers Thelma had over the last few years – the Doctors and Nurses at the Mazankowski Heart Institute always treated her with respect and dignity! The staff and residents of the Boardwalk Retirement Community downtown were always very attentive, kind and watched over her so well. And lastly, the nurses, staff and residents at the Citadel Care Centre in St. Albert where she spent her final days and where they treated her with such tender and professional care! She often said she loved it there, and we couldn’t have had better feedback than that! Thank you so much to each and every one!
A Traditional Metis Wake will be held Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 6:00 pm to 12:00 am at the Connelly-McKinley, St. Albert Funeral Home in St. Albert.